Going Pro

28 Mar , 2011 - Posted by Dan in Poker Strategy
Wanna be Pro Poker player?

Wanna be Pro Poker player?

A wise old sage once said, “Poker is the hardest way to make an easy living” and if they never said anything else, that saying guaranteed them a place in the wise old sage hall of fame. Playing poker is easy, making a living at poker is not, in fact if you’re debating playing poker professionally, take a moment and consider that it would be your J-O-B. And before you laugh that off consider how much you enjoy sex, and then ask yourself how you’d feel about doing it for a living.

Just because you can turn a card and win a pot, doesn’t mean you’ve got what it takes to become a successful Poker Player. If you want to become an UNsuccessful poker player, please be my guest and let me know where you’re playing. You may think that you’re Mr Frosty the coolest cat on the block, because ou can write Occupation: Poker Player, on official forms but if you’re not making a living wage (or even minimum wage) then you might as well go work down the golden arches.  Why is it difficult? And what’s the big difference to playing cards socially? Read on.

First off don’t quit the day job until you are sure you have the basic technical skills to be a winner at the Poker Table. Second of all you need some serious start up money, you wouldn’t go into business expecting to turn a profit on week one and in poker you need money to make money, (no cash = no sit, no sit = no win, no win = no wages). If you think this, doesn’t matter, and you’ll be in the money soon enough, ask yourself if you would happily start a job and then be told you wouldn’t take home any money to for eth foreseeable future, but you’re expected to keep turning up and working away.  Thirdly you need fall back money, it keeps you going after a bad beat, it sees you through the times were you just lose and it should ensure no one takes away your car or your house (or breaks your thumbs).

Sounds easy?

If you’re going to make a go of it you MUST treat your money and your bankroll like the tools of your trade, (because that’s what they are) I’m talking bankroll management. By all means be aggressive with your bets, but don’t throw your cash away! A painter needs paint, a carpenter needs wood and a Poker Player needs cash (most tournaments supply their own tables and cards). It may be easy enough to get occasional big wins, but the same way that small pots are you’re bread and butter for a long session, likewise small daily (or five days a week) wins are what you need to focus on (first). Give it time as well, the top pros, know when to ride out the bad times, and cut the raises down accordingly, if you do that you should be able to play well enough during these stretches so you break-even, rather than lose money. Swinging from feast to famine, isn’t healthy in any job and certainly isn’t healthy in poker.

It’s not easy, but I wouldn’t want to do any other job.

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How Strong Can You Play a Small Flush?

28 Jul , 2009 - Posted by Dan in Poker Strategy

This is a hand that has killed plenty of stacks, most recently at the WSOP Main Event.  The hand in question has one player sitting on a 35d and the other sitting on QJd.  The board hit all diamonds and the smaller flush led out and ended up getting his whole stack in with the second best.  No big deal, only a few million dollars lost on a 5 high flush!

Players tend to get tunnel vision the moment that their hands hit and pay little attention to anything else.  Now this was a notable pro player at one of the most prestigious poker tournaments in the world and he never thought for a second that he was second best. This is proof that it can happen to anyone.


This is something that will also happen with high pairs or when someone hits the high portion of the board with a card.  For instance, you are sitting on K9s and a K hits the board along with two babies.  You lead out and someone comes over top of you and you immediately push.  What makes you think that a 9 kicker is going to hold up?  Even if you are ahead at that moment, more than likely it is a bad play to commit your stack with that type of hand.

The same can be said for the small flush.  Even when the odds are slim that the other player also has a flush, it is pretty safe to assume that they are on a massive draw and if another card hits, you are dead and your chips gets shuffled across the table.  There is no worse feeling than seeing the aftermath and asking yourself, “What the hell was I thinking?”


There is a time and a place to make a stand and a baby flush is not it.  If you are going to make a play, you are much better off waiting until the river anyway.  At this point, you can get a better read on your opponent and pretty much know if they were going after the draw of if they had the same flush as you did, only stronger.

This also gives you the ability to still get out of the hand with relatively little damage to your stack.  If you are leading out, you can do so with smaller bets that won’t cripple you if you end up losing.  You can still make a move on the hand on the river with a healthy raise, but if they come over top of you, you can be pretty sure that they are not just bluffing.

The problem when you get aggressive early in a hand like this is that any draw will come right back at you.  You are then faced with the decision to give someone two more cards and hope that your baby flush holds up or worse, have the cards turned and realize that you are drawing dead.  There is always as time to make a stand, but choose a better hand.

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How to Beat a Maniac

16 Jul , 2009 - Posted by Dan in The Maniac

Welcome to the first edition of this series on how to beat your opponents. We will be discussing the best strategies when confronted with different playing styles. The first style we will be looking at is the Maniac.

The Maniac plays exactly as the name describes. He is crazy, wild, and shows no regard for typical poker theory. In fact, it almost seems like he hates money. This holds true until someone calls one of his crazy bets while he is holding the nuts. This player can win or lose a lot of chips in a hurry. Once they have a lot of chips they can be very dangerous because of their aggressive nature. So strap in as we dissect The Maniac.

Spotting the Maniac will be easy. He makes the biggest bets in the strangest spots and most likely will be doing the most talking. This is due to the fact that everyone will be questioning what the heck he is doing. This is definitely the type of player that we want to beat themselves, but you also want to make sure that you get some of the rewards before he is out of money. First, the setup. Try and play a few pots with this player. Heads up would be nice, but if some others sneak in it won’t matter. The idea is to let the Maniac bluff you out of some pots.

Make him think that he will just run right over you. Once he finally gets the idea that you are soft, you bait the hook. It may take some patience, but we are looking for a decent to good hand that connects on the flop. The ideal situation would be for him to raise pre-flop and you slow-play a top ten hand. Once he has his money in there, he will continue to fire at the pot. Setting a trap seems like the logical course of action, but let’s stop and consider it for a moment.  If you lead out to this person, he will at least call because he already created a big pot. Most likely he will raise because he remembers how soft you are. This is where we get the extra bet out of him or even an all-in.

Remember to trust your instinct when he fires out at you. You may have to grow a pair right there at the table, but you will be glad you did when you scoop a monster.

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How to Deal with a Bad Player When They Beat You on a Suckout

10 Jul , 2009 - Posted by Dan in Poker Strategy

This is something that has happened to all of us and the amount of fury that you feel when someone hits their 2 outer when you were making pot sized bets or better can get to the best of us.  Many players will let out a rant and inform the donkey of how idiotic their play was and then state exactly why it was a bad play.  Big mistake!

I am not a big fan of the phrase, “that’s poker,” but it really is.  The nature of the beast is that bad beats are going to happen and you need to be able to deal with them if you are going to be a successful poker player.  What you need to do is keep your mouth shut and deal with the bad beat instead of giving a poker lesson at the table.

When someone makes a play like that, they more than likely think that they have done the right thing and you need to applaud them for their incredible play.  The reality of it is that you want this guy to make that play each and every time.  Sheer odds dictate that you are going to come out on top in this situation far more than you are going to lose.  He may have beaten you on this occasion, but in the end, you are going to be the one holding the chips on him.


If you give him the lecture, you are teaching your opponent how to play the game.  Why would you ever do that?  Not only that, but you are also giving the entire table information on how you play the game and exposing yourself to bluffs and getting outplayed in later hands.  This is one of the absolute no-no’s of poker.  Again, keep your mouth shut and take the beat.  If you open it up at all, it should be to tell him he made a great play.

Dealing with something like this is going to take some discipline.  You were expecting to win a huge hand and all of sudden someone else is taking down the pot.  Start thinking about the times that you sucked out and put a smile on your face.  File the information away for later and eventually, that money will be back in your stack.

When the hand presents itself again and he does not hit, tell him how scared you were to play against him.  Tell him how lucky he has been and you figured he would hit again.  All of this will re-enforce his playing style and get him to continue to feed the pots and help you get that stack back in the positive.  Dealing with a suckout is part of the game and you better learn how to do it if you are going to get the most out of bad players.

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Reading tells in online poker

24 Jun , 2009 - Posted by Dan in Poker Strategy

playing-cardsReading poker tells has always been a huge part of the game. As the popularity of the online game increases, more and more people are staying at home. This means that the ability to start the player in the face and see their reaction is no longer a possibility. However, this does not mean that they do not have tells. You are going to have to pay attention, but they are there.

One of the most common tells in poker is the amount of time that it takes people to react to making their play. This is especially true for beginner players. Taking too long and acting quickly are the most common tells, but it is easy to get confused if you are not careful.

Check raising is something that you will see quite often, especially if you are in isolation against a player. In order to make the right call when it comes time to make your play, you really need to watch at how the player reacted to each bet that was made.

Assume you are on the button and it has folded around to you. You place a 4x the blind raise and the sb folds, but the bb stays in the pot with you. First take notice if he does a snap call or takes some time to think about it. If he is taking his time, he could be on suited connectors or small pocket pair. Any big hand here would have him throwing his chips in quickly. If he is taking his time, he is more than likely trying to decide if the investment is worth it.

A flop comes and the board hits you with a pair, but also has two suited cards. Now you are sitting on trips and have a huge opportunity to make some money depending upon what your opponent is holding. More than likely, he will check the action over to you, but once again, see how long it takes for this to happen. He checks and then you fire again. His check happened immediately and how he is taking his time to decide what to do. After taking the max time, he comers right back over the top of you.

This gives you a ton of information when you put everything together. His quick check followed by the long decision tells you that he has probably not hit the board, but has the possibility of a huge hand. He may have an over pair to the board or may be sitting on a flush draw. You are now going to be faced with the decision of calling him down or putting him in for all of his chips.

The best play for you in this case is to get them in and make him decide. The thinking here is that he has suited connectors and is pushing on a flush draw. This is a common move and gives the player a lot of outs. In many cases, their opponent will fold the hand to the check raise, but by coming over the top, you now have him on decision to risk his stack or tournament life on a draw. In a cash game, you will probably get called because they can rebuy. In a tournament, you can count on taking this pot down right here with an experienced player. While the odds are in their favor, most players will not risk calling off their stack to a draw.

There are a lot more tells to look for when playing online poker. Remember, just because you are not in the same room with the person does not mean that they are not giving off information.

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A Turtle Play

24 Oct , 2008 - Posted by Dan in Texas Holdem

A growing number of Texas Holdem poker players are confused about when to slow play in the game and when is the exact time to not slow play a big hand. Sure you always want to maximize the value when you flop a straight, a full house, or a top set. However, there’s this question that’s bothering most of these poker players. Is it always a wise option to slow play? Allow me to go through this issue for your convenience.

Before you make any decision, ask yourself first what Poker hand type do you intend to slow play. But don’t forget that there are poker opponents who are a bit trickier. Let’s say you got a top two pair, would you prefer slow playing this hand? Also, when you got a flush draw or straight potential, would you slow play the potential?

In some cases getting a hand which you can outdraw hinders you from slow playing. Sire, you’d want to move and begin catching value as you push out any possible Poker draws. For instance, you got to pick pocket deuces and you limp with it then the flop becomes 2-J-10. And since you already have a set of deuces, would you slow play the hand now? And should any of my opponents call a bet, I will surely go for a raise, and it will definitely be a strong raise. If I got the chance to act first, then I will more likely make a bet of pot sized. It may look like a counterintuitive scene for those who wish to disguise his hand strength. But missing this chance may end up to a waste of set should you not bet your hand in pushing the draws.

Next thing you have to prepare for is facing a Poker player who plays as a rock. What makes him a rock? Well, he simply makes a raise with only a big pair, which is A-K suited. The moment he hits hard a flop, he will bet on it so you have to be ready. In the later part, you are expected to hold a K-Q set on hand while the rock player will raise a pre-flop and you have to decide by then to speculate what he’s holding in his hand. If the flop falls to a K-K-Q set, then you have successfully hit the nuts against the poker rock. It is right then that you have to decide whether or not you slow play the hand. You must also be ready when the rock player calls you a bet. If he hit hard the flop, it’s given that he is probably holding a Q-Q pair. It’s until then when Online Poker players will try to make raise on him.

The flop falls K-K-Q.  You have hit the current nuts against the rock.  Now you must decide if you will slow play this hand.  If the rock bets into you, what will you do?  First, the rock bet into you which mean that he probably hit this flop hard, probably with Q-Q.  Some people would try and raise him here.

If I were you, should this rock player begins playing comfortably to the point that he makes a bet, then I would willing to accept his bet. He might be holding an A-K set or Aces to outdraw me, but what he got is an A-A then I doubt it if he would still continue calling a bet.

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Not Only Men Poker Players are Wiser

23 Oct , 2008 - Posted by Dan in Texas Holdem
Shana Hiatt

Woman Poker Player - Hot and Smart

WARNING: Women can always do tricks to pull you down. Let me tell you a story about a woman whom I’ve seen last year when I got to join the 2007 Pot Limit holdem tournament. She’s in between 30’s and 40’s. So most probably she looks very attractive to men who were all at first busy at the table. But when they laid their eyes on this woman, their attention was diverted into flirting with this woman. I got curious what’s with this woman that makes those men drooling over her. She may be attractive, but not overly gorgeous. But there’s something with her that spells magic, perhaps it’s what they call a woman’s Poker trick.

Here’s the scenario. I was sitting to her left on the second half of the Poker tournament. And so I can see the way she play the game. I saw her making rounds of raises which seemed to be an unchallenged pre-flop. Should there be any challenged past flop, she could have always won the river pot. It’s not only how the play went on that I got to witness. I was also able to witness her flirting with anyone making a bet into her.

An instance was when one Poker player was trying to reach for chips, what she did then was to look at the man and looked down while squeezing her breast and then threw a sly look to that man. It made him laughed and decided to just check. As expected, she completed her draw on the river card and won the big hand without too much effort.


After a while I got the chance to play with her in a hand. A potential flush draw was on the board, but I flop a straight. So what she did was to bet out while I made a raise. Right then, I was surprised when she tried touching my arm and said, “Would you still want to go for a raise?” Perhaps, she was confident that I would give in to her trick so she decided to call a bet. It was just unfortunate for her that I got to check the bet, thus, I potted again while she stayed folded.

After a few minutes break, I got back early at the table so with that woman who grabbed the chance of flirting with me. But since she’s way older than me, I never had that urge to flirt with her. I mentioned earlier about her squeezing of the boobs against her poker opponent. She frankly said that it didn’t work on me. While everybody is already on the table, I responded to her statement to tell her that her tricks won’t work on me because no woman is on a poker table as soon as she sits on it.

The other men looked at me as if they want to yell at me of being a fool. But that woman knew it all along what I mean when I said that. I focused my attention for I know that she’s not just an ordinary player. She must be playing regularly at various casinos in the states. But she can’t do her tricks on me because I knew it right then what type of player she is, a tricky one I should say.

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Low Crowd Record in WSOP Circuit Main Event

23 Oct , 2008 - Posted by Dan in World Series of Poker

The WSOP Circuit lately finished a stop at the Horseshoe Southern Indiana. This Poker event saw a sharp decrease in the number of overall contestants unlike many circuit events over the years. The previous record low for the Main Event of a WSOP Circuit event was 99. This event drew a trivial 84 players only. Big name stars of the poker world were noticeably absent from this event. Bernard Lee was eliminated before the end of Day 1 and he was the only significant name in the field.

Play that was planned to last until 3 a.m. in the morning on Day 1 was on the brink at around 10 pm just to give an idea of how small this field was. Lasting just under 5 hours Day 2 was also another very short day. David and Stacy Kopacz, a husband and wife pair made it deep into Day 2, but only David would make the final table.

Because of the small field size, merely 9 players completed in the money and in the finish this is what the final table appears like:

Seat 1: Jerry Martin 139,500
Seat 2: David Kopacz 151,000
Seat 3: Samuel Oberlin 229,500
Seat 4: Jamin Stokes 189,500
Seat 5: Dean Schultz 114,000
Seat 6: Joey Couden 128,000
Seat 7: Derek Whelan 117,500
Seat 8: Ray Lynn 17,500
Seat 9: Len Ashby 177,000

Play ended up three handed between David Kopacz, Samuel Oberlin, and Jerry Martin in conclusion. Martin in one hand took a dominating having an enormous Poker chip lead when he eliminated David Kopacz after flopping a set with pocket queens.

With almost a 5 to 1 chip lead over Oberlin Heads up play saw Martin enter. Oberlin was just over 200,000 and Martin had just over 1 Million in chips. To put Oberlin back in contention simply took one hand. Queens held and Oberlin had in excess of a half million in Poker chips.

With some strong betting a few hands later and then another huge confrontation occurred between the two Oberlin took the lead. Martin moved all-in against Oberlin and Oberlin called with the flop showing Jc-4c-5h. Oberlin was holding pocket queens again. Martin needed help and was holding J-7 but it did not arrive. Samuel Oberlin overcame an immense chip shortage to win the first WSOP Circuit Title of the season.

Oberlin won the gold circuit championship ring as well as $143,064. His win goes to prove that many times the player that catches the cards wins up the winner when you reach heads up play.

The WSOP Circuit will be heading next to Hammond; IN. the first circuit event in the Chicago, IL area will take place Starting the 24th. Details regarding the happening can be found at WSOP web site. For this event, it will be motivating to see the interest in the Chicago area. It is hard to tell with the current state of the economy. With any luck the recent trend in low attendance will start to reverse.

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Johnny Chan – Legend Profile

23 Oct , 2008 - Posted by Dan in World Series of Poker

Johnny Chan has become one of the best players in World Series of Poker history. Born in China, he sits second all time with 10 WSOP bracelets just one behind Phil Hellmuth.

Johnny Chan

Johnny Chan

Johnny Chan’s first World Series of Poker cash was in 1983 and he plays a full program to this day with 3 cashes in 2008. Johnny is widely considered one of the top 5 players in World Series of Poker history and is popular on Poker television. Chan came to the United States in 1968. He is married with six children. He won first bracelet in 1985 and his tenth in 2005.

Chan had already had one bracelet to his name, heading in to the 1987 World Series of Poker Main Event, however the Main Event would be where his career really started. Poker greats like Howard Lederer, Dan Harrington and Mickey Appleman Littered the Main Event final table in 1987. Johnny proved that he was a player to consider with and beat all those top pros and took home the title at the final table.

Johnny Chan won $650 000 and beat Frank Henderson heads up. In 1988 Chan made the final table of the Main Event and once more a lot of names you will recognize were at the table with him. Guys like Erik Seidel, TJ Cloutier and Humberto Brenes. Johnny showed that he was one of the top pros in the world besting Seidel heads up to take home the bracelet and $700 000 once again. Johnny was now the man to observe with back to back wins and three career bracelets The 1989 Main Event where legends are born. Chan once again was there in the end. He battled his way to again being heads up for the title, and what happened was two upcoming poker legends would take clash. Maybe poker fans didn’t realize it at the time, but it was legend vs legend. Phil Hellmuth vs Johnny Chan. Chan would still take home more then $300 000 although Hellmuth would take home the title. We will in no way see another player make three main event final tables in a row, pass up win 2 and finish second once. Johnny had made his name in the poker world. Making another Main Event final table in 1992he would win more bracelets and even.

While Johnny Chan won a 7 card stud tournament Chan wouldn’t win his fourth bracelet until 1994. When he outlasted Barry Greenstein, Steve Zolotow and Lyle Berman in winning the deuce to seven lowball bracelet His fifth came in 1997. Chan won his sixth bracelet in 2000 and in 2002 he convene with an old friend in the no limit holdem heads up tournament, Phil Hellmuth and now Johnny took home the title and his seventh bracelet. In event 15 and event 24 his eighth and ninth bracelet both came in 2003. Chan won his then record 10th bracelet in a pot limit holdem tournament in 2005. He had to beat Phil Laak heads up to win that 10th title, which earned him over $300 000. After that Johnny has cashed eight times and most lately finished 4th in an Omaha event in 2008.

Overall Johnny has cashed 41 times and 10 bracelets in his career. Johnny has made more then $4 million at the World Series of Poker alone over his 25 year career. Chan is one of the most consistent poker players in poker history with 25 years and 27 final tables made. He has had triumphed playing Holdem of all limits and styles, Omaha and seven card games.

He commonly appears on Poker After Dark on NBC. Johnny is more then just the World Series. He has career tournament earnings of more then $6.5 million and also won Poker Superstars. Play Poker like Johnny Chan and Million Dollar Holdem are the two books he had written. He runs his personal online poker site, owns fast food franchises and desires to eventually open his own casino. Chan is a great poker player and a business man who will strive for success in all his endeavors.

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WSOP Player Profile – Erik Seidel

23 Oct , 2008 - Posted by Dan in World Series of Poker

You can roughly always see Erik Seidel well dressed and sitting quietly and it is impossible to find any man quieter than him sitting at the tables. If you talk to him you will discover that he is no more than a silent courteous man.

Erik SeidelErik Seidel

Erik Seidel

You would believe that he was nothing more than a mediocre Poker player at first if you were to play against him. You would quickly find that you were wrong about what you probably consider an antisocial man unluckily for you. All of your chips would be his sooner than you knew what was going on.

Erik Seidel is a New York guy that started his gambling profession with backgammon. Currently he was attending Brooklyn College, but he later dropped out. He took up backgammon professionally after leaving college. He also began to play poker soon after that. He sustained these two Poker games until 1985, when the decision was made that as if it was time for a new job. For the years that he was a stock broker and he continued to play poker in his spare time. The stock market crashed and he lost his job but continued to play poker after a few years. After he worked on his game for a while, Seidel took his first try at the World Series of Poker during 1988.

Erik Seidel’s initial nine Poker games didn’t go as intended because he had completely no cashes during that time. Seidel in time found himself against Johnny Chan, the World Champion, during the Main Event, and though he lost, that great things would be seen from him later on became obvious.

While he was a stock broker Eric Seidel spent a few years playing high stakes poker. Seidel refrained from playing poker as a professional even as he won the bracelets in 1992 and 1993. After winning the $210,000 and his third bracelet in 1994 when he won the $5,000 Limit Holdem event, Seidel to decide to turn professional. He soon moved to Vegas with his wife.

Moving was the most excellent decision Seidel could possibly make. He now position 5th all time for WSOP bracelets. Seidel won eight different World Series of Poker Bracelets to earn that ranking. He won different areas, including two wins in bracelets in No Limit Holdem, two wins in Limit Holdem, two wins in 2-7 Lowball, one win in Pot Limit Omaha, and a win in Omaha 8. He has managed to win over nine million dollars in tournaments in his career. In April of 2008 He also won his very first WPT title. Earning $967,390 he won the Foxwoods Poker Classic. He also now holds the titles for the previous Diamond Jim Brady, Four Queens classic, and Fiesta Al Lago events.

Erik Seidel enjoys a huge music buff. He can usually be seen with a set of head phones that allows him to listen to his favorite music while he plays. He also works for Full Tilt Poker and is one of the people in charge of site design.

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